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The Last Resort. Ideas for an Industry Funded Race Horse Retirement System. Dorothée Ostle Jon Hansen December 2004. When the Race is All Over. Breeding - for some stallions and mares Retraining - for some Adoption - for some And “the rest”??? About 3,000 TB in need [1]

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the last resort
The Last Resort
  • Ideas for an Industry Funded Race Horse Retirement System

Dorothée Ostle

Jon Hansen

December 2004

when the race is all over
When the Race is All Over
  • Breeding - for some stallions and mares
  • Retraining - for some
  • Adoption - for some
  • And “the rest”???
  • About 3,000 TB in need[1]

[1] Estimate from Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation

what s happening to the rest
What’s Happening to “The Rest”?
  • Anything from adoption to slaughter
  • Whatever option owner happens to know and care about
  • Breed registries maintain lists of endorsed (private-initiative) retirement, retraining and adoption organizations
  • But information not always readily available
current system structurally unsound
Current System Structurally Unsound
  • When their racing career ends, 3000 TB per year (13.4%) are in need because stakeholders negligent of moral and financial responsibility
  • Dependent on private initiative of horse lovers to address the problem and account for the ones in need
  • Dependent on donations from horse lovers
    • About 20 years ago, various retirement, retraining and adoption organizations were started
    • Almost entirely run by volunteers, funded by donations
    • Some of them endorsed, but not financed, by breed registries
current system financially unsound
Current System Financially Unsound
  • Individuals from inside and outside this industry give generously to support the second careers of many ex-race horses.
  • Their donations are greatly appreciated and will always be needed. Unfortunately, they don’t meet the needs for caring for all the horses in need.
  • It is high noon for the industry to assume responsibility and fill the financial needs.
consequences
Consequences
  • Industry is increasingly vulnerable to animal welfare issues
  • Industry is perceived as irresponsible
  • Industry is not in control of what is happening
  • Industry is missing an important chance for image improvement
public concern is rising
Public Concern is Rising
  • Outcry of “Ferdinand” and others
  • Recent rally “Remember Ferdinand” by the National Horse Protection Coalition at the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Lone Star Park
the greyhound example
The Greyhound Example
  • Accountability – from first to last bark
  • Systematic, controlled and well-organized adoption program implemented – after public pressure from Animal Rights groups
the eu car example
The EU Car Example
  • EU imposed an “old car disposal fee” on manufacturers for each new car sold – against the fierce resistance from the industry
  • Every car accounted for from assembly to disassembly
  • Permanent de-registration requires proof of lawful disposal
  • New business opportunities – certified car recycling companies thriving
the arizona example
The Arizona Example
  • State Legislature passed a 5% surcharge on all fines levied by the ADOR
  • Arizona estimates between $2000 and $3000 collectable
  • Nationally this would provide up to $50,932
  • Arizona Owners volunteered a $1 per start[1]
  • Nationally, from 489,503 starts in 2003, this

would contribute $489,503

[1] Source: Arizona HBPA , all but two owners volunteered

[2] Source: The Jockey Club, 2004 Fact Book

our suggestions go even further than az
Our suggestions go even further than AZ...
  • The whole industry, nationwide, should take responsibility for the ex-racehorses in need
  • Every part of the industry should contribute its financial share to the funding
and result in an industry funded racehorse retirement system
… and result in an Industry-funded Racehorse Retirement System
  • With more second career options for QH & SB racehorse retirees, this idea will be explained in detail for the TB
  • It can be immediately applied to the QH and SB racehorse breeds
racing industry shared responsibility from foaling to retirement
Racing Industry - Shared Responsibility from Foaling to Retirement
  • All enjoy the efforts of this grand animal, it’s time to give back:
  • Breeders – Sire fee, Registration fee
  • Owners – Tattoo fee, Start fee, Claiming fee, Win participation
  • Other Stakeholders – Fine surcharge
  • Bettors/Racetracks – Uncashed tickets, Price/Takeout increase
  • Racino – Contribution
legal framework
Legal Framework
  • Pro-active (like AZ):
  • Initiate legislative/regulatory action
    • Industry-wide commitment to common goals and strategies to achieve these goals

OR

  • Reactive (like Greyhounds):
  • Imposed legislative/regulatory action
    • Influential pressure groups outside racing industry
need for addressing this issue
Need for Addressing this Issue
  • Approximately 34,000 TB (compared to 11,000 SB & 150,000 QH) [1] were foaled in each of the last four years
  • Of those TB registered with the Jockey Club about 66% make it to the racetrack
  • Of those retiring from the racetracks an estimated 3000 TBs (13.4%) are in need per year [2]

[1] Source: Individual Breed Registries from The Jockey Club online Fact Book

[2] Estimate from Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation

costs for caring for a retiree 1
Costs for Caring for a Retiree[1]
  • $5 to $8 / day for a sound horse on good pasture
  • $10-12 / day for a horse in need of vet care
  • 3000 per year—assume 30% in need of vet care
  • 2100 x $6.50 x 365 = $4,982,250
  • 900 x $11 x 365 = $3,613,500
  • Total estimated $$ needed for 3000 Thoroughbreds =

$ 8,595,750 / year

[1] Source: Estimates from The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation

the breeders
The Breeders
  • A $50 Sire Fee for each mare bred could be paid to the fund
  • With approximately 50,000 mares bred per year this would result in $ 2,500,000
the breeders cont
The Breeders (cont.)
  • $ 40 additional registration fee
  • Approximately 34,000 TB foals a year x $40 = $1,360,000
the owners
The Owners
  • A $30 additional Tattoo Fee
  • Around 11,000 horses make it to the track as 2year olds per year = $330,000
  • Tattoo also proof of eligibility for future benefits for horse
the owners cont
The Owners (cont.)
  • A $25 fee for Claims
  • Estimated rate of .2593 claims per race
  • In 2003, 53,503 races x .2593 = 13,873 claims x $25 =
  • $346,825
  • Win participation of 0.5%
  • Using 55% as the nationwide average of purse money that goes to the winner, and 2003 gross purses $1,055,496,849, the 0.5% contribution to the fund would be = $2,902,616
other stakeholders
Other Stakeholders
  • Trainers, jockeys, etc…
  • 5% surcharge on all fines levied by the respective Racing Commission
  • Nationwide, this would amount to approximately $ 50,932
the bettors
The Bettors
  • Uncashed tickets: “Outs” could become “Ins” for the fund
  • We realize that moneys from uncashed tickets are already allocated in most jurisdictions, how about 2% for the horses? This would contribute

$570,239 to the fund.

the bettors cont
The Bettors (cont.)
  • We realize that bettors have become increasingly price sensitive[1]
  • However, we are convinced that a 0.2% rise in takeout nationwide would have no significant effect on handle, which is currently $15,180,000,000
  • Using a 20% blended takeout, the 0.2% rise would contribute $6,072,000 to the fund

[1] “The NYRA takeout cut…proved that bettors – even those who don’t bet tens of millions of dollars a year – are price sensitive”. LaMarra, Tom, “Pricing Wars”, The Blood-Horse, 6 March, 2004, pg 1416, Quote by Bill Nader.

racetracks
Racetracks
  • Instead of rising the takeout, the 0.2% contribution to the fund could also come from the racetracks
  • Or bettors on one hand and racetracks on the other hand could share the contribution and each pay 0.1% to the fund
  • Unchanged amount = $ 6,072,000
racino contribution
Racino Contribution
  • In 2003, racinos in Delaware, Iowa, Louisiana, New Mexico, West Virginia generated $1.8 billion
  • Contribution of 0.25% would result in $4,670,250
  • When other jurisdictions legalize racinos even more money would be available
summary of revenues
Summary of Revenues
  • Sire fees----------------------------$ 2,857,100
  • Registration fees------------------$ 1,360,000
  • $30 Tattoo fee---------------------$ 330,000
  • .50% Win --------------------------$ 2,902,616
  • $25 per Claim----------------------$ 346,825
  • $1 per Start-------------------------$ 489,503
  • 5% Fine Surcharge----------------$ 50,932
  • 2% Uncashed Tickets-------------$ 570,239
  • .2% of Takeout--------------------$ 6,072,000
  • Racino contribution---------------$ 4,670,250
  • Total revenues---------------------$19,649,465
summary of expenses
Summary of Expenses
  • Equine related cost (one year/3000 horses)
    • Non-vet care 70% of horses $4,982,250
    • Vet care 30% of horses $3,613,500
  • Total equine cost $8,595,750
  • Overhead cost 15% $1,289,362
    • Including marketing cost for second career horses
  • Total expenses $9,885,112
  • Minus revenues sold/adopted horses$1,477,500
  • Total Expenses $8,407,612
5 year business plan
5-Year Business Plan
  • Sound only if racinos and bettors/racetracks contribute
  • Sound for 6 years if program allows for rearward eligibility
  • Sound for around 12 years if first two years used for accumulation of capital and no rearward eligibility
  • Problem is the accumulation of horses, mainly “pasture ornaments” and those in need of vet care
  • In Year 6 the total cost will reach around $30 million!!!
what about the private retirement organizations
What about the Private Retirement Organizations?
  • They are an integral part of the idea
  • Utilize their up-and-running facilities for rehabilitation, retraining, and retirement
  • Utilize their established network for sales and adoption
  • Payments from the fund will improve their financial situation and provide a steady source of basic funding
can we do without donations
Can we do without donations?
  • No, especially if contributions from racinos and bettors/racetracks are not available
  • Donations will always have to be an integral part of the funding structure:
  • If program offers rearward eligibility, industry fund will only be able to complement, not replace donations
  • Even if program does not offer rearward eligibility, industry funding will not be sufficient after around 12 years, unless contributions would increase substantially
can we generate more donations
Can we generate more donations?
  • From the bettors – maybe they will donate if we encourage them
  • Provide links to racehorse retirement information and to donations
  • On every ADW web site
  • On every track web site
business opportunities like eu car disassembly
Business Opportunities - like EU Car Disassembly
  • A new agribusiness industry with jobs for “soured” stakeholders
  • Job creation as people are needed to re-train the horses and care for them
  • Second careers for trainers, grooms, pros and amateurs of show disciplines,…
  • Industry funding will secure quality life for both the animal ex-athletes and their caretakers
how could the idea work in practice eligibility of horses
How could the idea work in practice? Eligibility of Horses
  • Only racehorses would be eligible – tattoo as proof of eligibility
  • All breeder fees for horse must have been paid
  • Payment of all other fees related to horse (claiming fee, win contribution etc) to be recorded on foal papers and/or in database
  • The industry’s retirement agency (to be created) would be responsible for distribution of the funds depending on the individual needs of the horses
how could it work in practice admission procedure
How could it work in practice? Admission Procedure
  • Not mandatory for all horses retired from the racetrack
  • Option for only the needy horses retired from the racetrack, whose owners have no other use for them
  • Owner signs eligible horse over to industry retirement agency
  • Accountability for all horses through exit papers from racetracks – require destination declaration
how could it work in practice organizational structure
How could it work in practice? Organizational Structure
  • Industry retirement agency would implement regional/local offices utilizing existing networks, for example track vet, HBPA
  • Track vet at regional office would classify signed over horses depending on their second career potential
  • Regional office would utilize the existing, already endorsed (private-initiative) retirement organizations for placement of horses accordingly and
  • Try to expand list and certify all endorsed organizations for special tasks – rehabilitation, discipline-specific retraining, adoption, pasture-retirement
how could it work in practice financial structure
How could it work in practice? Financial Structure
  • Endorsed and certified organizations would be compensated for each horse in accordance with their service provided
  • Retrained horses could be advertised, presented and sold, the profit (sale price minus sales expenses) is part of the calculated revenue for the fund
conclusion
Conclusion
  • This idea is do-able – if all parts of the industry are willing to assume their collective responsibility
  • Arizona is a first step in the right direction
  • All positions allow adjustments, however, balance of contribution from each group essential
  • Act - rather than be forced to react
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